Aug. 20 (UPI) -- China has the military strength to overwhelm the United States in the Indo-Pacific region, a report released Monday by an Australian research group said.
The report by the University of Sydney-based United States Studies Center said the region is vulnerable to a quick strike by China to secure a military or strategic advantage, which U.S. forces would be hard-pressed to repel.
The Chinese "growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific. As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the PLA [People's Liberation Army] missile threat challenges America's ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region," it said.
It added that in the next decade, the United States is "unlikely to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy," a reference to a 2018 U.S. Defense Department directive calling for restoration of "America's competitive edge by blocking global rivals Russia and China from challenging the U.S. and our allies."
The report suggested that Australia, whose largest trading partner is China, should "increase stockpiles and create sovereign capabilities in the storage and production of precision munitions, fuel and other material necessary for sustained high-end conflict."
It added that the regional balance of power in the Pacific has tilted in China's favor, noting the modernization of China's military and underinvestment in military capability, what it called "delayed and unpredictable funding" and the costs of Middle East wars on the part of the United States.